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© Bill Watterson/Andrews McMeel Publishing

Text by Thomas HUBERT

Latest update : 2014-02-02

Bill Watterson, the American author of the Calvin and Hobbes books, was awarded the coveted Grand Prix at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in France on Sunday, nearly 20 years after he brought the successful series to an end.

The jury of the 41st International Comics Festival awarded its highest accolade to 56-year-old Watterson, whose complete Calvin and Hobbes series was republished in 2012.

His characters, precocious six-year-old Calvin and his toy tiger Hobbes, engage in deep yet funny conversations about the state of the world when adults are not looking.

They first appeared in short, black-and white strips in 1985 and quickly spread to newspapers across the US.

In one such trademark three-frame story, Calvin says: “They say the world is a stage. But obviously the play is unrehearsed and everybody is ad-libbing their lines.”

Hobbes replies: “Maybe that’s why it’s hard to tell if we’re in a tragedy or a farce.”
“We need more special effects and dance numbers,” Calvin concludes.

Over a 10-year period, Calvin and Hobbes was translated into more than 40 languages, syndicated to 2,400 newspapers and sold 30 million books internationally.

Watterson received the best foreign book award at the Angoulême festival in 1992.

Yet after a row with his publishers in which he opposed the development of merchandise and animations based on his characters, the media-shy author stopped the series in 1995.

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Date created : 2014-02-02